JACKSON, Mo. (KFVS) - A town sent its football team off to the championship game in style.
The bus pulled out on Friday afternoon, December 6.
A sea of red and black filled not only the hallways at Jackson High School, but also Jackson Boulevard, to send the team up the highway.
Coach Brent Eckley said on Friday that no matter the outcome, Saturday will be bittersweet.
“There’s already a little bit of sadness in there knowing that, like, next Tuesday or Wednesday it’s like we are not going to be going out and practicing,” he said.
Junior outside linebacker Randol McDowell hoped they can bring home a title for their seniors.
“We’ve been playing with them since we were little, so it’s going to be hard to see them leave, but I’m hoping we can get them a state championship before they leave,” he said.
The Indians will face off against Carthage at 7 p.m. in Columbia at Faurot Field.
Buffalo Wild Wings in Cape Girardeau will be broadcasting the game.
Signs of support started showing up all over Jackson earlier in the week.
Fans said they were excited for the game, so excited that the Christmas parade was pushed back a day.
“I’m pretty sure the entire town of Jackson will be a ghost town on Saturday because most people will be up in Columbia that day.”
Janey Foust, vice president of Uptown Revitalization Organization, said no one would even be at the parade on Saturday.
“We wouldn’t have the Jackson High band, which you can’t have a parade without the band, so we made the decision to move it so that everyone could enjoy the parade,” she said.
Foust said moving the parade back a day takes some time, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We are over the moon excited,” she said. “The last Saturday we had the game on here at the store. There was so much yelling and whooping and hollering and the town is just, they’re ecstatic."
Jackson football coach Brent Eckley said the community has been there for the team since day one.
“It’s not surprising, but you never get tired of it. It makes us so proud of our community, not just myself, but our whole team,” he said. “We are so proud that we are from here and that all the people support us.”
He said he was “full steam ahead” on switching the parade because it’s been so long since they made it to a championship game.
Brook Welker, sister of quarterback Cael Welker, said she can’t even contain how happy she is.
“I am super excited that Cael and the whole team has made it and how excited the whole town is about the game,” she said. “There are so many people that are going. All the hotels in Columbia are booked at this point. The boys are going to have a great game.”
Eckley said this team has been a special one, and they are taking it day-by-day.